Less Than Jake have been doing the whole, “we’re a band thing” for longer than most of those reading this review have probably been into this whole “scene.” They released one of the best albums I overplayed during my high-school years (Hello Rockview); and they continue to get shit from kids who can’t get over the fact that they won’t release the same album over and over. What one needs to remember is that Less Than Jake have proved their not a flash in the pan band. They’ve been writing hit songs for years. While it’s hard for me to picture myself listening to some of the pop-bands I enjoy at this stage of my life in 15 years – I can totally see myself still breaking out Less Than Jake albums well into my years.
Now, onto the new album.
- It’s the hardest album the band’s recorded since Hello Rockview.
- It has the most horns I’ve heard since Hello Rockview.
- They’ve returned to Howard Benson as producer (he also did Hello Rockview).
- This is not Hello, Rockview Part 2.
The lyrics continue to be some of the most nostalgic I’ve ever heard, and as a recent college grad, it’s hard not to think about all the years that have all too quickly passed me by. The songs flow together well and each contain hints of the band’s previous work (quite literally in the first track) while bringing something new to the table.
The stand out tracks are the album kickoff, “Soundtrack to My Life,” the brilliant chorus contained within, “Land Mines and Landslides,” the power ballad, “The Rest of My Life,” the old-school fan favorite, “Let Her Go,” and the album’s closer, “PS Shock the World.” The worst song is by far the single, “Overrated” and with all due respect – it battles “She’s Gonna Break Soon” as the worst LTJ song ever written. It proves that at any time the band can write a catchy, hit, pop-song; however, I feel the band is at it’s best when they write songs that get stuck in your head not because of the repetitiveness, but because of the aggression and desire to overplay them.
The vocals are vintage Less Than Jake. It’s great to see the band continuing in their trend to do dual-vocals and even swapping lead vocals on a few songs. In the day and age of over-dubs, it’s refreshing.
I may be in the minority of having loved every Less Than Jake album ever released. I may skip a few songs on a few of them – but as a whole (and based on their ginourmous catalog), I love the vast majority. In With the Out Crowd is no exception, there are a few weaker songs – but the standouts far and away make the album worth the purchase to me.
In high-school I spent hours staring at my ceiling with “History of a Boring Town” playing over and over … I think a new generation has an album that they can do the same.
It’s weird – with Saves the Day and Less Than Jake both releasing extremely solid albums so close together, I feel like I should be heading out to a FenixTX and Home Grown show or something. Truth is that I couldn’t be happier with the road both bands have taken, and couldn’t be more excited to still have both of them in my life, and in my CD collection.